Rosetta Status Report - November 2006
European Space Agency
November 10, 2006
The Rosetta spacecraft and its payload are in excellent health and
everything is set to prepare the Mars flyby on 25 February 2007.
On 26 July the Rosetta spacecraft came out of the two-month Near Sun
Hibernation Mode (NSHM). The spacecraft performance during that period
was nominal. Subsequently it was reconfigured to Active Cruise Mode.
Rosetta is back to two ground station passes per week, which are used
for telemetry recovery and S/C maintenance operations.
Operations and Archiving
Before entering the NSHM the Solar Conjunction activities were
on 18 May 2006, though TM/TC link was actually never permanently lost.
This phase included the RSI solar corona sounding campaign from 15
until 18 May. During NSHM RPC, the Rosetta Plasma Consortium carried
a measurement campaign in the (far) downstream tail region of comet
Honda between 4 and 9 July 2006. Preliminary analysis of the data,
was presented by the team during the 21st Rosetta Science Working Team
Meeting (SWTM) at ESOC, 14/15 September, indicates that the
detected the tail. The observations are so promising that similar
campaigns have been requested for future potential comet tail
As usual, the Standard Radiation Monitor (SREM) has been the only
payload element operated continuously and is active in background mode
with accumulation parameters configured for active cruise. The first
summary results from the SREM covering the first two years of the
mission were presented at the last SWTM.
A Payload Passive Check-out was conducted 19-25 August and preparations
have been completed for the Active Payload Check-out that will be
performed from 27 November until 21 December 2006.
The next big event for Rosetta will be the Mars flyby on 25 February
2007 with the closest approach at 01:53 UTC. In preparation for this
crucial mission milestone the DSN/ESA Tracking Campaign already started
on 28 August. Before that two DSN delta-DOR tracks of 1-hour each were
performed (DSS 24/45 and DSS 55/25) beginning of August. This was the
first time that delta-DOR measurements were taken with Rosetta. The
processing performed by Flight Dynamics that the reduced delta-DOR data
were of excellent quality. Before the actual Mars flyby, OSIRIS will
observe Lutetia, the mission’s second asteroid target in January and in
April Rosetta will support a joint Jupiter observation campaign in
support of NASA’s New Horizon mission to Pluto.